Rising cricket star Kia follows in her dad’s footsteps

Kia pictured with her dad Stephen McCartney.
Kia pictured with her dad Stephen McCartney.

It’s not very often that a parent gets to take part in a competitive sport with one of their children.

Coleraine Cricket Club stalwart Stephen McCartney achieved this unique sporting milestone recently when he took to the field with his 12-year-old daughter Kia for the Thirds game against Bready Fourths.

They may have finished on the losing side but it was a memorable day for the McCartney family as Kia grabbed a wicket on her debut!

“It was a bit of a surprise I didn’t expect to get a bowl but took the chance,” she explained.

“It wasn’t my best ball, but the batter skied it to square leg where our captain David Moffatt took a really good catch.

“My dad gave me a high five afterwards.

“I really enjoyed it.

“It was quite funny watching my dad going out to bat and me being in the same team.”

As you can imagine it was a very proud moment for dad Stephen.

“The opportunity came about as our Threes had a couple of spaces for the Bready game and I had mentioned to the captain David Moffatt that Kia and I would be available,” he revealed.

“I opened the batting and she batted 11 so we didn’t get a chance to bat together but it was good to be in the field and encourage her.

“It definitely was a proud moment playing my first game with Kia.”

Stephen also started his career at Coleraine Cricket Club at a very young age.

“I joined Coleraine CC when I was 12,” he said. “My PE Teacher at Coleraine Boys Secondary School, John Rowan, played for the club and encouraged me to join, and over 30 years on I’m still turning out for our Seconds and coach of our U13’s.

“Cricket really has given me so much in life.

“I’ve two daughters and have always wanted them to be involved in sport, its given me so much and its my career to develop sport in the Causeway area - we’re very fortunate having so many opportunities and clubs to choose from.

“Both my daughters, Kenya and Kia, have been playing sport, initially hockey from seven years old, and hopefully they take this throughout their life as it gives so many opportunities to make friends and stay fit and healthy.”

Kia is certainly enjoying her sporting career to date.

“I first started when I was in P4 aged 8 at Christie Memorial PS, dad encouraged me to play and I really liked it as I loved whacking the ball,” she said.

“I play quite a few sports, in the summer cricket would be my favourite and in the winter hockey and table tennis take up my time.

“I play hockey for Coleraine Grammar and Coleraine Hockey Club and table tennis for Coleraine Table Tennis Club.

“This season my highlight was representing Ulster at table tennis in the Inter Pros.

“In a few weeks time I also hope to go to the Foyle Cup and play for Coleraine FC Girls U13’s.

“I’d be keen to play more games for the Coleraine CC Threes, plus I play for our Under-13s and we’ve quite a few league games right through to the end of August.

“My sister Kenya and Eva Gaston also play in the North West Ladies league for Eglinton Ladies so I’ll hopefully have plenty more cricket season this season.”

Cricket in the Coleraine area is thriving with more and more youngsters getting involved in the sport.

“We’ve a good development programme for young players at the club thanks to our Chair Debbie Bell and Graeme Carmichael, we’ve a programme from U11’s to U15’s and our present first team who are currently top of the North West Premier league is made of of boys that came through our youth system,” explained Stephen.

“Our first team captain Scott Campbell and vice captain Rishi Chopra really are role models to look up too.

“Also Varun Chopra has played in two U19 World cups for Ireland and Marcus Poskitt is currently in the Ireland U17’s.”

“Every season we’ve around 70 girls taking part in the Coleraine Kwik Cricket Festival and for three years Christie Memorial PS girls team, which Kenya and Kia played for where Northern Ireland champions something I was very proud to be involved as coach of the team.

“The challenge was the transition and getting the girls to the club but we’ve more now and hopefully in the future our own ladies team may come.”